God’s servant David wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing — life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3) Unity is like the oil of anointing or the dew that descends on the mountains of Zion — both great blessings from God. The point that David makes is that wherever unity is, there will blessings be found. These won’t be man-devised blessings that fail, but God’s blessings that lead to life forevermore.
Humanly devised unity is often based on gaining an advantage over others. It might be in family-level decision making, business, national politics or in international defense. It is unity for the sake of domination of will against will. Rather than life forevermore, its fruit is conflict, confusion, tension and ultimately death. We know all too well the difference between the peaceful unity David spoke of and the “unity” that drives separation today. One is of the spirit of this world and one is of God’s Spirit.
There are various factors that play into the unity that David spoke of in the 133rd Psalm. Paul wrote, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) The factors of humility, gentleness and patience all work together as we utilize the Holy Spirit in the pursuit of godly unity. These are the elements that would naturally come to mind in a discussion on this topic and rightly so.
There is, however, another powerful unifier among God’s people that we may not think of very often but should, it is the word “amen.” It is of Hebrew origin and it means “properly firm.” Figuratively it means “trustworthy” and it is used as an adverb, it means “surely” or “verily”. Amen and verily are translated from the same word. Christ used the word verily frequently as an affirmation of what He had just said. He used it for emphasis of truth.
We use it in the same way today. It follows our own private prayers to God and it affirms to God that what we’ve said is solid and trustworthy. It affirms that what we’ve said is not a lie and in that sense, we are unifying ourselves with God. At mealtime it unifies those sitting around the table as they unanimously agree with the thanks given and the blessing asked over a meal. It is a very important aspect of how we worship God together as well. When Paul was addressing the matter of speaking in foreign languages and interpreting to the Corinthians, he wrote, “Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” (1 Corinthians 14:16) Being able to properly and emphatically say “amen” was very important and meaningful. The commentary by Jamieson-Fausset-Brown says this of verse 16: “Prayer is not a vicarious duty done by others for us; as in Rome’s liturgies and masses. We must join with the leader of the prayers and praises of the congregation and say aloud our responsive ‘amen’ in assent, as was the usage of the Jewish and Christian primitive churches.”
A hearty “amen,” spoken from the heart as a congregation, is a solid affirmation of the truth God graciously gives to us. Spoken from the right spirit, it is a word that expresses unity and oneness of mind as we look forward to the blessing of life forevermore.